Cars, trucks, and motorcycles pass vehicles on the left constantly. Sometimes, they pass on the right of a driver. However, there are traffic rules that regulate how drivers should safely pass other vehicles on roads and highways. There are rules for how the driver being passed should act as well. And, of course, there are common sense safety suggestions that drivers of both the passing and passed vehicles should do to avoid any accident.

Often, when car accidents occur in passing lanes, cars strike each other’s sides, which can push the vehicles into other lanes or cause the cars to spin around.

Mississippi laws on passing another vehicle

The three basic passing rules are:

  • Overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction. This law applies, for example, where there at least two lanes of traffic going in the same direction. 63-3-609 provides:
    • “The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.”
    • “Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible signal and shall not increase the speed of his vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.”
  • Overtaking and passing vehicles on left side of roadway. This section applies, for example, when there are two lanes of traffic with each lane going in a different direction. 63-3-611 provides that:
    • When vehicles are going in the same direction, the car that wants to pass shouldn’t attempt to pass until the lane he/she wants to go into is visibly clear and the driver can make the pass without concern about oncoming traffic or concern about the motion of the car being passed. The passing vehicle must always return to the right-hand side of the roadway before coming within 100 feet of another car.
  • Cars can’t pass on the left:
    • If they are entering a curve or the crest of a grade and their vision is obstructed.
    • Within 100 feet of any “marked or readily distinguishable bridge, viaduct or tunnel on any roadway other than a four-lane roadway.”
    • When nearing within 100 feet or crossing any marked or readily observable intersection or railroad crossing.
    • When official signs prohibit passing or there is a clear center line which makes clear passing is not allowed [typically a double yellow line].
  • Overtaking and passing upon the right side of another vehicle:
    • 63-3-613 provides that passing on the right is permitted if the car on the left is about to make a left-hand turn.
    • If there is another clearance, passing on the right or left, passing is permitted “on a roadway with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width for four (4) or more lines of moving traffic when such movement can be made in safety. The left lane shall be the preferred passing lane. No person shall drive off the pavement or upon the shoulder of the roadway overtaking or passing on the right.”

What are some additional safety requirements when passing another vehicle?

Passing may be necessary if the car in front of you is going too slowly – if the pass can be made safely and in accordance with the above laws.

Additional car safety rules for passing include:

  • Don’t drive over the speed limit to pass
  • Don’t drive at a speed unsafe for conditions such as rain or a glaring sun
  • Respect the rights of motorcycles to be in their lane when you pass
  • Don’t pass if you have to pass a long line of vehicles
  • Check your mirrors to ensure no vehicles are also trying to pass you
  • Signal that you are going to move into other lanes so drivers behind you are aware
  • Don’t pass while distracted
  • Once you’ve passed, move into the other lane
  • Drivers should not speed up when a vehicle is trying to pass them.

At Merkel & Cocke, P.A., our experienced Mississippi car accident lawyers work with the police, clients, victims and investigators, and traffic reconstruction experts to show how a car crash occurred and why drivers and others are accountable. Our attorneys then fight to help our clients obtain just compensation for the pain and suffering, lost wages, medical payments, and property damage payments they deserve.

For help with any type of car crash call us at 662-799-1633 or complete our contact form to make an appointment. We fight for drivers and passenger in Jackson, Clarksdale, and Oxford, and across Mississippi.